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Dutch Ukraine-EU Referendum Results Put a 'Nexit' on the Horizon

© REUTERS / Cris Toala OlivaresDemonstrators call for people to vote no in the EU referendum during a protest at Dam Square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands April 3, 2016.
Demonstrators call for people to vote no in the EU referendum during a protest at Dam Square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands April 3, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The Netherlands' no vote on the EU-Ukraine partnership was a protest aimed at Brussels and The Hague, who will not be able to placate an unhappy electorate by changing the agreement's content, Jan Van Benthem, foreign affairs commentator at the Netherlands Dagblad, told Sputnik.

The Netherland's recent referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was not really about Ukraine, but rather a no vote aimed at the governing elites in Brussels and The Hague, Jan Van Benthem, foreign affairs commentator at the Netherlands Dagblad, told Radio Sputnik.

​On April 6 32.2 percent of eligible Dutch voters turned out to vote in the referendum, and 61 percent of them voted against the agreement.

"They don't care about Ukraine, so whatever you discuss whatever you renegotiate, they will not be satisfied," Van Benthem said.

"This is the start, maybe even towards a new referendum – after the one in June about the possible Brexit – the next one in the Netherlands might be about a possible Nexit from the European Union."

Dutch member of the Socialist Party (SP) Harry van Bommel hands out flyers against a referendum on the association treaty with Ukraine, in The Hague, on April 5, 2016 - Sputnik International
The Dutch Had Their Say: Media Reaction to EU Treaty Referendum
Dutch voters are particularly unhappy about the EU's handling of economic crises and the austerity measures that have deeply affected young people across Europe. As a result there is widespread mistrust of the governing elites in Western European countries, Van Benthem said.

"You now have a generation that will not have a better future than their parents, this is the first time we have experienced this since the Second World War. They could not really utter this frustration till this referendum, and Ukraine was only a vehicle to express the frustration with politics in The Hague, as well as in Brussels."

"We have a deep rift between the ruling elite, the ruling politicians and bankers etc. and a significant part of our population that does not at all trust the political leadership any more, not at all." 

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